South Whidbey Pee Wee team takes championship game to overtime

Terrance Crain rushes for a first down with Kole Nelson trailing as a blocker.  After a record season of wins, the young Falcons lost in the championship game in overtime 18-12 to Lakewood White. - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Terrance Crain rushes for a first down with Kole Nelson trailing as a blocker. After a record season of wins, the young Falcons lost in the championship game in overtime 18-12 to Lakewood White.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

MOUNT VERNON — Forty minutes of cold, gritty pee wee football wasn’t enough time for South Whidbey and Lakewood White.

For the first time in South Whidbey youth football history, the Falcons made it to the Super Bowl. After a historic 6-0 regular season and a lopsided semifinal playoff victory, South Whidbey advanced to the North Cascade Youth Football League championship game.

On a blustery, dry but cold Saturday afternoon, South Whidbey matched against Valley division rival Lakewood White. South Whidbey defeated Lakewood White earlier in the season. This time, Lakewood won 18-12 in overtime.

The Falcons scored first on quarterback Terrance Crain’s 50-yard run along the left sideline after the offensive line kept Lakewood in the middle. The extra-point attempt failed on a fumbled snap, but the Falcons led 6-0 through the first quarter.

Lakewood responded with a late second quarter drive to tie 6-6. South Whidbey tackled the ballcarrier short of the goal for a failed Lakewood extra-point attempt.

In the third quarter, South Whidbey drove downfield on clutch third-and-fourth-down play calling and execution. On third and inches, Terrance Crain ran through the middle for a first down.

Later in the Falcon drive, on fourth down and seven yards to go, Kole Nelson received a toss from Crain on the right edge and ran 15 yards for a first down.

Crain then recovered a fumble and ran 20 yards to set up first down and goal. South Whidbey went for the touchdown on fourth down and four yards to the goal on a toss to Nelson, but was stopped short and the Cougars took over on downs.

The Cougars called multiple reverses throughout the game, and continued to run effectively. That was until Kobe Balora stuffed one for a loss in the fourth quarter. The defense took note, and DJ Crain picked up another reverse and tackled Lakewood White at the line of scrimmage. Balora again found himself in the backfield and tackling the Lakewood ball carrier after Matthew Kelley beat the offensive line and caused the carrier to change direction right into Balora’s arms.

With three minutes left to play South Whidbe scored on Terrance Crain’s 40-yard run down the sideline, similar to his first score. South Whidbey’s extra point failed on a fumbled snap, but the Falcons led 12-6 with 2:59 remaining.

The Falcons recovered the ensuing kickoff after Lakewood failed to secure the ball, and Kieran Mozingo grabbed the football as it rolled out of bounds. South Whidbey’s nerves kicked in, though, and a false-start penalty moved the line of scrimmage back 10 yards to their own 40 yard line. Then South Whidbey fumbled a low snap which Lakewood recovered.

DJ Crain had a tackle for loss in the first set of downs. But Lakewood continued to run effectively and set up a first down on the 11-yard line. With 47 seconds remaining Lakewood scored to tie the game 12-12 and set up a chance to take the lead. The Falcon defense held and kept the Cougars from scoring the extra point.

Lakewood attempted an onside kick and recovered the ball after South Whidbey touched the ball before it traveled 10 yards. The Falcon defense again stepped up to keep the Cougars from scoring, and forced them to run the clock out.

South Whidbey had first possession in overtime on the 10-yard line, but came up short of the end zone on quarterback Terrance Crain’s carry on fourth down. Lakewood White had its turn, and it appeared it would give South Whidbey another opportunity. The pee wee Falcon defense held the Cougars out of the end zone for three downs. DJ Crain stopped Lakewood’s run at the one yard line on second down. Then Kole Nelson tackled the Lakewood White running back for a two-yard loss on third down. On fourth down with three yards to the goal line, Lakewood rushed down the left edge for the game-winning touchdown, 18-12.

During the regular season, the Pee Wee Falcons defeated both Lakewood teams, Darrington, Concrete, Anacortes and La Conner. According to Pee Wee team mom and league treasurer Bree Nelson, it was the first time a South Whidbey youth football team finished undefeated in league play. South Whidbey advanced to the Super Bowl by defeating Lakewood Maroon 28-6 on Saturday, Oct. 23.

The young stars of South Whidbey are: Kobe Balora, Zain Balora, Terrance Crain, DJ Crain, Brent Batchelor, Aiden Coleman, Taylor Daniels, Kole Nelson, Brandon Eveland, Karsen Fischer, Jack Germano, Brady Hezel, Dexter Jokinen, Matthew Kelley, Ian Maddux, Bryson Lamb, Justin Moberly, Kieran Mozingo, Lucas Taksony and Tyler Thrasher. The team was led by coaches Wes Crain, Shawn Eveland and Jordan Nelson.

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